As we have discussed previously, decision-making is not an easy process for anyone – especially for those in leadership. When a leader makes a decision – for better or worse – it affects those being led as well as the leader personally. With this in mind are looking at a several questions that allow us to reflect on the potential impact of our decisions prior to implementing a choice that we may afterward wish we had paused to consider, first.
The question we are exploring this week is this: “Is the decision we are contemplating just somewhat risky or is it actually dangerous?” If this question is applicable to the decision in front of us, it is worth serious consideration.
Risk-taking is inherent in leadership. It is not possible to forge a navigable path through the forest of options without taking risks from time to time. The likelihood of leading – and avoiding all risk entirely – is the antithesis of effective leadership in its truest form. In every decision a leader risks making mistakes, being misunderstood, potentially offending someone and/or risks losing our own and/or others’ capital. It just is not possible to lead without taking real risks.
Having said this, there should be a bright line drawn between that which is somewhat risky and that which is dangerous, even if we are only placing ourselves in danger. In reality there are leadership positions which involve actual danger. In such cases, the leader is generally aware of the potential and severity of such risks. Even so, there must be perspicacity in our decision-making process that alerts us when we are crossing said “bright line.”
It is not that we are to avoid decisions that involve danger. Rather, it is that we must be clear in our assessment beforehand that danger exists as a potential factor. Again, there are professions that include danger. The point here, is that as leaders we must be alert to the differential between risk and danger so that decisions are made with our eyes wide-open - and with the willingness to proceed based on lucid recognition of the potential outcomes.
Photo Credit: Leeroy